So, I’m a vegetarian, and I feel good about it. And not in a smug way, more a “yay, this is great for me, but please don’t try and ask me a million questions about why” way.
Why is this meat?
At the age of 3 in the back seat of the car, I pointed to a lamb, and said meat, and my mum likes to joke it is because I was a meat eater through and through – but maybe it wasn’t that, maybe it was me just trying to join up how cute and fluffy equals meat-to-eat?
After years and years of not questioning eating meat, and just shovelling it in, one day I stopped. What was my catalyst? Well I watched a documentary on Netflix, called ‘What the health’ and I found it really eye opening. And then on a recommendation I watched ‘Cowspiracy’. I am not so naïve to believe all the statistics in these documentaries were un-biased and un-manipulated, but I did think that there was something to this whole plant based lifestyle. From health, to the environment, to animal welfare, I wanted try a plant-based diet.
Vegan for a week
I set it as a challenge for myself, could I be plant-based for 1 week? I mentioned the idea to my husband, who no doubt thought, okay, one week, no biggie – sure thing babe, go for it. And then one week, turned into two, and three, and at this point I started to feel some pressure – when are you going to give up this vegan malarkey?
Well, vegan lasted for about a month, until I had a business trip to Bulgaria, and vegan was a bit too tricky with the language barrier. Cheese and dairy were back in, and I was able to eat in Sofia without being too difficult.
What works for me, right now
Moving on, today, I am 100% vegetarian, and of that, 60% of that time I’m also vegan. My problem areas are cheese and chocolate – to which you might say that I am weak – and urge me to look at substitutes, but for now I am comfortable with my decision. I have concerns about the dairy industry – and I think cutting dairy from my diet will be a decision I will make in the future, but I’ve not quite worked out all the details yet, to be able to stick with it long term.
Being a vegetarian in a family
I can’t lie, it is tricky to be the only vegetarian in the family.
Firstly, have no desire to try and ‘convert’ my family members. I came to my decision to be vegetarian on my own and that was important for me, to be independent in my conviction.
Next, I’m cautious not to create food biases and issues for my kids. Why isn’t Mummy eating what we are eating? What’s wrong with meat? These aren’t questions I want to get into with my 3 and 7-year old growing boys. I want them to have a healthy relationship with all food groups, including meat.
Finally, I try my hardest not to be disruptive. So, if we are having sausage and mash, I will have Quorn sausages (or maybe everyone will – often the boys can’t tell), or if they are having burgers, I will try to make a bean burger, if its Shepherd’s pie, I might make myself a mini lentil one alongside the normal meaty one.
Vegetarianism and running
I’m trying to listen to my body, and I have noticed an increased sense of fatigue and periods of weakness since becoming vegetarian. I’m quite confident this is down to me not looking after myself – not getting enough iron rich foods. I have been to the doctor and am waiting on the results of my blood tests. Plus, I am working on keeping my diet healthy – and I am learning that vegetarian does not automatically equal healthy. There are many amazing vegetarian and vegan runners and I have confidence that with a little more attention, I’ll get back on track.
You are more veggie than you realise
I went for dinner with my friend Hollie and we decided to share starters, and she said, well let’s get veggie starters and then I’ll have a meat based meat course. But in the end, she ordered a veggie main meal as well.
And you might realise that you are more vegetarian than you think. Look at your meals and see how many are already meat free, and then look at how many more can easily be meat free. I think you’d be surprised.
Have you ever considered going vegan or vegetarian? Please share your thoughts below.